1910. Scrim Up: A blustery spring morning in Millford, Manitoba
CAMILLA standing on the lower level of the UR platform which servers as the home of MRS FRANCIS.
CAMILLA: It has now been six months since I came to work for Mrs. Francis in Millford, a small prairie town in Manitoba, and I like housework so well and I am so happy at it, that it shows clearly I am not a disguised heiress or anyone like that . . .. My proud spirit does not chafe a bit at having to serve meals and wear a cap. ‘All work is expression,’ Mrs. Francis says, so why may I not express myself in blueberry pie and tomato soup?
MILLFORD up: a parody of “JERUSALEM” by William Blake: The song chosen to represent the National Union of Suffrage Societies in the early 20th Century; the words an expression of protest at inhuman living conditions rather than of great patriotic rejoicing.
Millford citizens enter singing. FRANCIS, the local society activist resplendent in floral pinks, climbs the pathway to her imposing home overlooking the village; here she marks the progress of the tattered WATSON FAMILY wending homeward to a yellow boxcar abode. MR. JOHN WATSON, his very pregnant wife, MRS. WATSON, and young DANNY—still sucking his thumb and clinging to Momma—are in the lead, followed by PEARL the eldest, then MARY and BUGSEY. Only JIMMY is missing.
FULL CAST: MILLFORD
And did those folks in olden times
Labour on verdant prairies green?
And was their hope in future man
In Millford’s darling children seen?
And did they plant their finest seeds;
And did they reap all just rewards?
And was the truth builded here
Against the dark, satanic hordes?
(FRANCIS turns a steely eye on the greedy, black-hearted SAM MOTHERWELL who enters UL and makes his way DR to the WATSON stoop, where he mimes an angry confrontation with JOHN before raging off to the Motherwell farm signage UL. Francis sings:)
Bring me a lad of golden youth
Bring me a youth who burns with fire
(DANNY straightens and beams.)
And I shall meld his virtue and truth,
Any you shall have your heart’s desire.
I will not cease from mental toil
Nor ever rest my pen in hand,
Till I’ve inspired noble youth
To lead, in Millford’s pleasant land.
FULL CAST: Hums.